Act II, Scene 3: Questions and Answers

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 735

Study Questions
1. Why does Walter say, “Even the N double A C P takes a holiday sometimes…?” What is the NAACP, and what does his referring to it show about his changing attitude?

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2. When Beneatha answers him, “Sticks and stones may break my bones…” what are we reminded of?

3. Why do you think Karl Lindner goes to such lengths to talk about everybody getting along before he gets to his reason for talking to them?

4. Who catches on first to what his purpose in talking to them is about? How do you know?

5. What is so cruelly ironic in Lindner statement: “They’re not rich and fancy people; just hard-working, honest people who don’t really have much but those little homes and a dream of the kind of community they want to raise their children in”?

6. Do you believe Linder when he says to the family, “I want you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn’t enter into it”? Why or why not?

7. What is the disturbing reminder when Mama says that her children have all the energy of the dead?

8. How is this theme carried forward in Walter saying, “they just dying to have out there… a fine family of fine colored people”? What is the tone set by Walter’s remark?

9. What conversation are we reminded of when Mama prepares to take her plant to the new house and says “It expresses ME!” How does the plant express Mrs. Younger?

10. What change in Walter do we see when he sobs to Bobo “THAT MONEY IS MADE OUT OF MY FATHER’S FLESH”?

Answers
1. The NAACP is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the first civil rights organizations in this country. When Walter mentions the NAACP in one of his remarks, we see that he is growing in character, noting one of the strongest organizations for political action to further civil rights in the country.

2. Although this is a joke, we remember the history of persecution and discrimination black people have faced in America, including being subjected to wanton violence, which, of course, is no joke.

3. On some level, he cannot even himself accept the real reason for his speaking to them. As much as he anticipates a negative reaction from the family to what he is going to say, he probably knows, in the back of his mind, that what he is doing is wrong.

4. As might be expected, Beneatha is the first to sense something wrong in Lindner’s purpose. The stage directions call for her to speak “drily,” which is another way of saying “sarcastically.” In other words, Beneatha is already suspecting the real reason for his visit.

5. The irony is that this is exactly the dream which the Youngers have, the dream so many families have, sometimes called “The American Dream.” But what one segment of society takes as its right and believes it can “protect” in any way it wants (such as gross discrimination against people like the Youngers) another segment of society, identical to the first in every way but race, is criminally denied.

6. Nothing that Lindner says is believable because his whole purpose in seeing them is to stop them from doing what they have every right to do; move where they want to and seek “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as guaranteed every American in the Constitution. Since his premise is a false one to begin with, much of what he says can be expected to be self-serving lies said to make his “mission” easier for himself.

7. What is brought to mind is the many black people who perished prematurely in the history of this country. It also foreshadows (points to) the threats Lindner has made possibly coming true. A slightly eerie tone is set.

8. As in the question above, what we remember is so many people dying needlessly because of blind prejudice.

9. We are reminded here of Beneatha’s statements on page 48 about expressing herself. It seems her mother now understands what she meant, because her plant expresses herself.

10. While previously, Walter was more concerned about how the insurance money would be distributed than about what it represented (“He was my father, too!”), we see here that there has been a shift in Walter’s values, and he now is most upset about losing the money because of what it represents.

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Act II, Scene 2: Questions and Answers

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Act III: Questions and Answers